Conservative Africa.

Conservative Africa.

BRICS creation of $100 billion, and what it means for africa.

BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa recently
announced the creation of a $100 billion development bank, to cater
for the development needs of the developing countries. The leaders of
these countries think that the IMF and World Bank are too Washington
focused for the developing countries needs.

Top civil servants reject 500,000 send off package.

Top civil servants have rejected the 500,000 send off package from the
government. The government will soon embark on a staff rationalisation
program and retrenchment, in a bid to reduce the public wage bill.
However, the government is likely to face opposition from COTU and the
civil servants workers union.

Uhuru to visit coast.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to visit the coast region in the spate
of the recent violence in the region, and after the cord rallies in
the region. There have been public spats between Mombasa governor Ali
Hassan Joho and the Mombasa county commisioner, Nelson Marwa.

Rupert Murdoch to bid for CNN.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has made a bid for the parent company of
CNN, Time Warner. Mr. Murdoch already owns the right wing TV station,
Fox News, which has some very strong conservative views.

MPs split on IEBC

MPs are split on whether or not to disband the electoral body IEBC.
The concerned parliamentary committee could come up with both a
majority and minority report, reflecting the Jubilee and Cord party
lines respectively.

Raila meets South Sudan opposition leaders.

Cord leader Raila Odinga met with the South Sudan opposition leaders.
The opposition leaders were set free by President Salva Kiir a few
months ago. Differences between President Kiir and former Vice
President Riek Machar led to a conflict which soon took on an ethnic
dimension pitting the two country's two largest ethnic groups, the
Dinkas and the Nuers.

South Africa to decide fate of zimbabwe immigrants.

South Africa is to decide whether to deport or allow the more than
250,000 immigrants from Zimbabwe to stay. Ever since the Zimbabwean
economy took a nose dive in the mid 2000s, hundreds of Zimbabweans
cross the border to South Africa every day. However, of late the
Robert Mugabe regime has introduced new radical fiscal measures to
ensure that the Zimbabwean economy gets back on track.

Toyota to set up park in kenya.

toyota will set up a manufacturing park in kenya, further showing that
the kenyan economy is on the upsurge. toyota is among the world's top
three car manufacturers in the world, although a spate of recent
recalls has seen its magic somewhat dented. the toyota park is likely
to create hundreds of badly needed tech jobs.

Toyota to stop production in south africa.

Toyota will stop production of motor vehicles in south africa in the
coming months should the strikes persist. south africa has been
encumbered by industrial and mining sector strikes, as workers demand
more wages. the industrial labour relations reached a low when mining
workers at marikana mines were senselessly murdered in august 2012.
lonmin mines amongst other mines have been affected by the mining

Marsabit farmers to get new equipment.

Marsabit farmers are set to get equipment worth about kshs. 70
million, which will further help the region's farmers to diversify
into crop farming, and irrigation based farming and pull the regio
away from the erratic pastoralist farming.

Meru county to establish foreign language center.

Meru county is set to establish a center for the teaching of foreign
languages. foreign languages are among the most sought after courses,
and languages such as chinese mandarin are hot in demand, especially
as china becomes a key trading partner for kenya and africa.

COTU opposed to civil service retrenchment.

COTU and the civil servants union are opposed to the upcoming
retrenchment. the government is set to begin a civil service
retrenchment in the next few months. this even a parastatal
rationalisation program that saw the number of parastatals by almost
70. according to a salary report, careers in parastatals are among the
highest paying, and president kenyatta has personally asked the
parastatal heads to take a salary. although a politically problematic
situation, it must be remembered that kenya has one of the highest
public wage bills in comparison to the tax collected.

Lamu Governor case to be delayed.

The lamu governor's case will be delayed, as the state seeks fresh
evidence against the embattled governor. the lamu governor is accused
of perpetrating the insecurities in lamu. lamu's tourism sector has
almost been decimated by the insecurity in the region, resulting in
large numbers of deaths, displaced people, and lost jobs in the
tourism sector and general economy.

Semalang'o locked out of mathare by election.

Immediate former youth fund CEO Gor Semalang'o, has been locked out of
the mathare by election. Mr. semalang'o was replaced by Bruce Odhiambo
at the youth fund, after a poor stint, and perceived disagreements
with her boss, Ann Waiguru.

Africa loses $58 billion to the world- report.

Africa loses about 58 billion dollars annually, a new report has
shown. it had 134 billion dollars in net inflows, and 192 billion
dollars in outflows. the outflows are mostly capital flight from
multinationals repatriating profits, and corruption from the
continent's leaders who stash away cash in switzerland and other tax

AIDS likely to be wiped off by 2030-UN

A new un report shows that AIDS may be wiped off by 2030, michael
sidibe of UNAIDS says. AIDS has strained african countries health
systems, and although the prevalence rates have dropped, the disease
still continues to be a major scourge in much of Africa.

Paul Kagame insights on leadership and governance.

Paul Kagame divides opinion. To his supporters, he is the hero who
liberated Rwanda from the ruins of the Rwandan genocide, and in the
process, manage to build a country that is quite prosperous, and one
of the easiest places to do business at least according to the World
Bank. For his critics however, Paul Kagame has managed to crush
dissent in Rwanda, and he has also been accused, together with
Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, of being behind the instabilities in Rwanda.
According to a Governor's forum last year, Mr. Kagame intimated that
there must be a balance between stability and democracy, in an obvious
jab to Western countries. What both critics and admirers agree is that
Mr.Kagame has managed to infuse discipline into the Rwandan economy,
and investors keep flocking to Rwanda because of the many measures
that Kagame has introduced. However, the real question is what will
happen to Rwanda after Kagame exits the scene. It's a question that no
one is willing to answer.

Samuel majani and the rise of ghafla.

Ghafla has risen in popularity to be arguably Kenya's leading
entertainment website. The website now has an average of 80,000
pageviews per day, ranking it atop even some of the mainstream media
stations. Yet, the story of ghafla, as with so many business success
stories is also riddled with pain. Samuel Majani, the founder of
ghafla, started the website as a way to buy off time after he had
dropped from Computer Science studies at JKUAT. He says that he chose
entertainment because it is the most searched keyword in search
engines, and also because entertainment news was not being given
prominence in the mainstream media stations. Majani was lucky to get
investment from the venture fund 88mph, enabling Ghafla to make a much
needed expansion. According to Majani's estimation two years ago,
Ghafla's valuation was 100 million shillings, and what's more, the
website is now a platform for Kenyan celebrities, fashion designers,
and the whole entertainment industry to showcase its talent.

Five lessons Kenyan(and African) leaders could draw from China.

China has a lot to teach Kenya, Africa, and the developing world in
general. First, that democracy is not the end and be all of everything
especially in poor developing countries. So, then for Kenya and
African countries, what matters most is stability. This is one of the
reasons that investors have continued to flock to China, since they
are assured that their investments will be in place regardless of
which leader is in power. Secondly, that state directed development
matters a great deal and due to this Chinese companies such as
alibaba, Weibo, tencent, and lenovo have gone global. Third,
corruption is not tolerated and those found engaging in the vice are
handed lengthy prison sentences. Fourth, the education system
emphasises such confucian values as hard work and patriotism. Finally,
even in an information age, the growth of manufacturing and the
agricultural sector still matters. It is for no other reason that
China's economy has grown by double digit rates in the past 30 years.

Bitange Ndemo's take on Kenyan economy and innovation.

That Bitange Ndemo is the one of the most brilliant Kenyans is not in
doubt. In an opinion piece in the Daily Nation on Monday, Mr. Ndemo
calls for speedy innovations in the Kenyan education system. What he
specifically asks for is for an introduction of an endowment fund to
cater for the bright but needy students. It must be a real shame that
Kenya's oldest schools such as Alliance High school do not have an
endowment fund. Quite noteworthy, the Kenya High school is soon set to
launch an endowment fund that will enable about 300 needy students
every year to attend school on a free ride. Education is one of the
great equalisers and if a way could be found to make the neediest of
students attend school for free, then the Kenyan economy stands to
gain a lot. Our universities too must follow suit and establish
endowment funds that will ensure that needy students are catered for,
and in a way ensure that no Kenyan child is left behind regardless of
their economic background.

5 Highlights as Parliament reopens.

As parliament reopens, the legislative agenda will be tight and
absorbing. The first issue in the lips of many Kenyans is the issue of
a referendum, and Jubilee, which has a majority in parliament, will
likely argue against this. The issue of insecurity will be a
bipartisan issue as both sides will attempt to ensure that the
insecurity in the country is arrested. Third, the curbing of illicit
brews will be a hot issue, as the deaths in Kapsabet, Nandi and
Eldoret, Uasin Gishu demonstrate. Even then the calls by Cord for
wholesome disbandment of the electoral body IEBC will likely be
scoffed off by Jubilee. Cord has indicated that it prefers that the
referendum be done by the UN, which calls Kenya's own sovereignty into
question. There will also be the issue of national healing and
reconciliation, as the political temperatures in the country increase,
and the need for peace and stability concerns the key stakeholders.
Already, the World Bank has revised Kenya's growth prospects from 5
percent to 4.5 percent.

Is Alfred Mutua's star waning?

That Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has been the most visible governor
in Kenya is not in doubt. He has presided over many projects; the
Machakos park, a chicken rearing program, and a techno city are just
some of the projects that he has opened. And yet recent events do not
augur well for the governor. Of course, there is the well known
opposition from Wavinya Ndeti, Johnstone Muthama, his own Deputy
Governor, and of all people, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
However, while one could dismiss his political enemies as motivated by
envy and lose of the power to Mutua, allegetions of corruption by EACC
put a damper on his otherwise rising star. Even then revelations that
the recent 30km road that Mutua opened is already pot holed, may
seriously dent Alfred Mutua's star which has been on the rise ever
since he became governor. It is a predicament which Machakos residents
should not face.

Is Nderitu Gachagwa and Colonel Rasanga the unsung heroes.

While Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua continues to enjoy all the
limelight as the frontrunner governor, could it be that the media is
ignoring other equally worthy governors? First, there is Siaya
governor Colonel Rasanga, who wants to transform Siaya into a great
agricultural county. Currently, Siaya imports milk, vegetables, maize
and many basic food commodities from Rift Valley, Western, and Kisii,
and this has severely affected the food security of the region. Across
the aisle, Nyeri governor has reenergised his efforts on the
agricultural sector, mainly the coffee and tea sector. Recently, the
Nyeri county government made plans to sell its coffee directly to
buyers in the US, therefore eliminating middlemen and getting more
income in the process. Who knows, in future, the county could sell the
coffee directly to retailers such as Starbucks. If the two governors
maintain on the development path, then they could be first among
equals in Kenya's set of governors.

The success of BRCK shows Kenya's hidden potential.

BRCK, a kind of modem that can be used in rural areas, finally managed
to raise 1.2 million dollars(100 million shillings) in series A
venture capital capital funding. This goes to show the potential of
the Kenyan tech sector. Brck had managed to raise about 170,000
dollars from the fundraising website Kickstarter. Brck's main niche is
to provide internet in areas where the traditional networks would find
it too expensive and uneconomical to lay out an internet network. The
founders of Brck, Eric Hersman- the CEO for the BRCK project, Julianna
Rotich, among others were instrumental in the creation of the Ihub
incubation hub as well as the disaster monitoring site ushahidi, which
which mapped out disasters such as the Haiti earthquake. If the
fundraising by Brck is anything to go by, then the Kenyan tech scene
will have started taking those baby steps to making Kenya a Silicon
Savannah, and perhaps, spread those fruits much wider.

Women getting paid less than men-report.

A new report by charity organisation Oxfam shows that it will take
about 70 years for women to earn the same as men. Currently, even in
countries such as the US, women earn about 75 percent of what men get.
This report follows a report by the World Economic forum last year
which showed that the gender pairity in the workplace was yet to be
achieved. In the report, women in scandinavian countries like Norway
and Sweden had the most benefits, while women in Saudi Arabia, where
women are still not allowed to drive, had the least benefits. Kenya
was in the middle of the charts in the report. However, even then,
there are less than five women chairpersons of public companies'
boards, and even fewer CEOs of NSE listed companies. In Kenyan
politics as well, female representation only increased as a result of
affirmative action.

Kenyan US Illegal immigrants await fate after new law.

Kenyan illegal immigrants to the US may be in for trouble as the Obama
administration moves forward with plans to overhaul the whole
immigration system and make it harder for illegal immigrants to enter
the country. Although there is no definite number on the number of
Kenyans in the US, the figure could be as high as a million plus.
Typically, the most talented of workers, who work through the H1B
visa, a visa for highly skilled workers, will not be affected.
However, it is the undocumented workers who hold the majority of jobs
that will be affected by the new rules. Although the magic of America
on Kenyans continues to wane, thousands of Kenyans still continue to
immigrate to the country. According to the Central Bank, remittances
from Kenyans abroad is about a billion dollars every year, and Kenyan
banks are actively seeking ways to tap into these remmitance
transfers, which have been monopolised by such entities as Western
Union and Moneygram.

Rebuilding the lamu economy.

Lamu was the quintessential Kenyan tourism town. The economy of the
town blossomed, and even though the area still had a large number of
poor people, there was genuine hope that the tourism dollars would
percolate down to the common people. Yet, the images on TV screens are
depressing. Sure, there are delicate matters that no doubt need to be
solved. for example, land remains a thorny issue, something that was
one of the flashpoints in 2007/08. However, even though many have
criticised the government for not doing enough, last year, President
Kenyatta issued title deeds to thousands of coastal residents. Even
more so, the clear sublimal message was that instead of viewing land
as an emotional asset, the area residents must view land as a
productive resource. Insecurity in areas such as Mpeketoni must also
be nipped in the bud, so that area residents feel secure. Otherwise,
mega projects such as the Lamu Lapsset project will be severely
affected, and less jobs and wealth will be created in the end.

Lessons Kenyan economy can borrow from Germany.

Germany just won the world cup, but apart from football, Kenya can
borrow so much more from this industrial powerhouse. The one area
where Kenya could borrow from is the growth of Small and Medium
Businesses segment. So, while Germany does not have as many superstar
companies as the US, it nevertheless avoided a recession unlike the
us. Its unemployment rate, at just 4 percent, is one of the lowest in
the world. Studies have shown that the SME sector creates the most
jobs, not just in Kenya or Germany, but the world over. Kenya should
therefore invest more in this sector. Equally, the investment in
talent and skills is key. While Germany does not have Harvard, it
nevertheless has many first class colleges and universities, which
offer top class training. In sports, this is reflected in the many
youth talent academies. If kenya could implement some of these steps,
then we could see a double digit economic growth, and creation of
decent, clean, and rewarding jobs.

Is Moses Wetangula a changed man?

Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula has always had a desire to succeed the
late Michael Kijana Wamalwa as the de facto western region leader,
only that he hasn't succeeded. So, then who has suddenly inspired him
to have so much energy of late. Remember that he has always competed
with Musikari Kombo for Western Kenya supremacy, although to be fair
the Western Kenya is as fragmented as it comes. According to political
analyst Mutahi Ngunyi, both Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka are in
Cord for selfish reasons, as they both eye the political spoils of
Raila Odinga. even then Kalonzo Musyoka has been a complete
conservative, and for many years, has been at loggerheads with Raila
Odinga. Moses Wetangula has been somewhere in the middle, and even up
to now, minus the referendum, who knows what will be the real sticking
point of the three cord leaders?

Is KCB and Safaricom deal the answer to Equity Bank.

Equity Bank got a license for a mobile virtual network, in effect
jumping right into Safaricom's turf, Mobile money transfer. Mpesa is
the most ubiquitous mobile money transfer platform, but Equity Bank is
set to challenge this. Then enter the Safaricom and KCB deal, with the
biashara club. KCB has the largest branch network in the region, and
by teaming with Safaricom, kcb will benefit from the ubiquity of
Mpesa, while Safaricom will benefit from kcb's reach and credibility,
especially in lending to SME businesses. So, in effect safaricom is
uprgrading from a micro payments platform to the middle of the market
tier, through its Lipa na Mpesa merchants payment system, while kcb is
moving down the chain to tap the 20 million safaricom subscribers with
loans. Equity bank will attempt to do the same things, only that it
will not need to collaborate, as it is now both a bank and a telecoms
company. It will be interesting to watch how Bob Collymore, Joshua
Oigara, and James Mwangi react to the unfolding events.